Photo: FBI agents on scene; source The Advocate
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has raided two law enforcement agencies in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, seizing case files, cellphones, computers, and other items as part of a U.S. Justice Department investigation according to a news report from The New Orleans Advocate.
In response to questions about FBI activity at the Hammond Police Department and the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office, FBI public information officer Craig Betbez reported, “We are conducting multiple court authorized actions. The investigations are ongoing. We have no further comment on this time.”
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However, the New Orleans Advocate reported that the FBI raids involved the serving of at least two search warrants and conducting interviews, relating to an investigation of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) task force. Members of the task force have been accused of stealing money from drug dealers, selling their confiscated narcotics, and also tampering with witnesses.
Two former task force members facing federal criminal charges worked for the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office. One member pleaded guilty to state conspiracy charges earlier this year.
Court testimony concerning the jaw-dropping, unlawful activities of former task force member Karl E. Newman, formerly of the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office, included: the sale of narcotics across state lines, using ecstasy to spike drinks, misuse of DEA databases, offering drugs to potential informants, stealing money during federal drug raids, and more.
One law enforcement official at the scene of the reported that a computer used by Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards was among the confiscated items—Sheriff Edwards is the brother of Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards.
And in a strange twist of circumstances, the official reported that the FBI was “basically treating these [law enforcement] buildings like crime scenes.”
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